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Brothers and Keepers

A Memoir

“A rare triumph” (The New York Times Book Review), this powerful memoir about the divergent paths taken by two brothers is a classic work from one of the greatest figures in American literature: a reflection on John Edgar Wideman’s family and his brother’s incarceration—a classic that is as relevant now as when originally published in 1984.

A “brave and brilliant” (The Philadelphia Inquirer) portrait of lives arriving at different destinies, the classic John Edgar Wideman memoir, Brothers and Keepers, is a haunting portrait of two brothers—one an award-winning writer, the other a fugitive wanted for a robbery that resulted in a murder. Wideman recalls the capture of his younger brother, Robby, details the subsequent trials that resulted in a sentence of life in prison, and provides vivid views of the American prison system.

A gripping, unsettling account, Brothers and Keepers weighs the bonds of blood, affection, and guilt that connect Wideman and his brother and measures the distance that lies between them. “If you care at all about brotherhood and dignity…this is a must-read book” (The Denver Post). With a new afterword by his brother Robert Wideman, recently released after more than fifty years in prison.

©Jean-Christian Bourcart

John Edgar Wideman’s books include, among others, American Histories, Writing to Save a Life, Brothers and Keepers, Philadelphia Fire, Fatheralong, Hoop Roots, and Sent for You Yesterday. He won the PEN/Faulkner Award twice and has twice been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and National Book Award. He is a MacArthur Fellow and a recipient of the Lannan Literary Award for Lifetime Achievement, the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story. He divides his time between New York and France.

"Brave and brilliant, an almost frightening thing to behold."
Philadelphia Inquirer

"Powerful and disturbing... Brothers and Keepers is guaranteed to shock and sadden."
Washington Post Book World

"A rare triumph... Mr. Wideman has succeeded brilliantly in both understanding his brother's life and coming to terms with his own." 
New York Times Book Review

"If you care at all about brotherhood and dignity and other such things, this is a must-read book."
Denver Post

"[A] sensitive and intimate portrayal of the lives and divergent paths taken by two brothers."
The New York Times

More books from this author: John Edgar Wideman